Distribution companies are aware of the benefits of automating parts of the medium and low voltage grid to better manage complex network operations.
Schneider Electric has responded to this business need with the launch of Easergy T300, a remote terminal unit to digitise distribution assets by hosting local automation and fault detection.
Portugal's EDP Distribuição has deployed Schneider's technology in a bid to address three main challenges, says Filipe Gil, Utilities Account Manager at Schneider Electric, during an Engerati webinar - 'Easergy T300 RTU feeder automation: A DSO case study'.
First, the distribution company was seeking to improve its service quality in line with local regulator's standards; second to improve operational efficiency, and third to help cut losses, both technical and non-technical.
EDP is known in the European utility sector as a frontrunner in terms of innovation. The distribution company has already invested in digitising its network operations - from smart metering infrastructure to medium voltage feeder automation and low voltage sensors giving "EDP a more precise view of the network and allow them to operate more efficiently," says Gil.
Distributed intelligence - EDP's vision
In response to changes in market requirements to make functionalities like fault detection mandatory, EDP developed a "generous vision to make the best use of all the data available at the MV/LV level to create distributed intelligence".
The distinguishing feature of this project was the decision to merge smart metering control and network operations into one distribution transformer controller (DTC).
Following several pilots with the DTC acting as a data concentrator, EDP adopted the solution as its standard for MV network automation.
As the figure above shows, the core technology of the solution is the DTC, which is installed on all substations and is at the centre of all communication.
Using Schneider Electric’s HU250 communication module, the DTC talks to connected equipment inside the substations and outside with corporate systems such as SCADA and advanced metering infrastructure.
In his presentation, Schneider Electric’s Gil also confirms that in automated substations, EDP has added a switch control module to be controlled and connected to the DTC performing several functionalities like current and voltage measurement and fault detection.
The system also incorporates an uninterruptable power supply cabinet providing 230V to the DTC and 48Vdc for the automation modules.
Reflecting on working with EDP to deploy the grid automation solution, Gil says three factors contributed to the success of the project:
First, the compact and modular design of Easergy 300 “allowed us to design a distributed solution in a very effective way”.
A second factor was the communication and programming capabilities of the HU250 linked with the DTC that addressed specific operational requirements imposed by EDP.
And third, the expertise working on the project including Schneider’s Centre of Excellence for Automation.
Feeder automation case studies
During the same presentation, hear how Western Power Distribution has deployed the Easergy T300 to meet its own business needs.